Lung Disease Killing Dentists in Mysterious Cluster, CDC Report Says

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But the common denominator of a small group of patients at a Virginia clinic over a 15-year period is worrying the Centers for Disease Control: Eight were dentists; a ninth was a dental technician. Seven of the patients had died, Newsweek reports. But that's still a strikingly high rate - it's 23 times higher than what would be expected based on the number of dentists in the USA population.

One of the surviving cluster patients reported polishing dental appliances and preparing impressions without using a mask or other protection, according to the report. Some of the chemicals used in these processes are potentially toxic to the respiratory system, the CDC reported.

Although the reason behind this remains unsuspected, there might be certain factors contributing towards growth of this disease such as smoking, viral infection, exposure of toxic substance at the time of polishing the dental appliances without wearing any surgical mask for safety goal in order to avoid the damage caused to the body by inhaling the dust particles, as per chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health & Research Center, Paul Casamassimo, shared with CNN. Younger dentists are taught differently than in the past, so they know to delegate certain work or procedures to laboratories that meet more safe and stringent ventilation requirements, he said.

"We do work with materials and with human bioproducts that are potentially damaging to our bodies if we inhale them", Dr. Paul Casamassimo, chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Pediatric Oral Health and Research Center, told CNN.

Meanwhile, in April 2016, a dentist from Virginia was diagnosed by IPF, and during his treatment at the specialized clinic, they found that several other dental professionals were undergoing the same treatment.

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The disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The scarring gets worse over time and the patient finds it hard to take deep breaths and the lungs can not take in ample oxygen.

Today, dental personnel also have required protections from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, he said. It can eventually prevent the patient from partaking in any activity when the lung scarring gets worse. The cause of IPF is unknown, but the study found occupational hazards faced by dentists could play a role. Many patients who have IPF die within three to five years of diagnosis.

'These exposures include bacteria, viruses, dust, gases, radiation, and other respiratory hazards'. But first, patients experience shortness of breath, a dry, chronic cough, weight loss, joint and muscle pain and clubbed fingers or toes.